tv U.S. Conference of Mayors Press Conference CSPAN January 27, 2018 11:23am-12:10pm EST
in modern history. it was a profile of the american people. >> watch afterwards sunning that at 9:00 eastern on c-span2's book tv. >> earlier this week, mayors from several cities gathered in washington dc for a conference to discuss various initiatives to improve their cities. the mayors were invited to the white house to speak with president trump. the sum boycotted the meeting -- but some boycotted the meeting. next, a news conference with sayors followed by the meeting of some of the mayors and president trump. >> all right, you guys. all right, everybody.
all right, mayors. mayors of america, welcome, and thank you so much for joining us for our winter meeting. i want to welcome and think, pocket me -- and want to thank tom. mayor stephen benjamin who is our first vice president. second vice president and fellow mayors from across america representing 85% of the americans that live in the spectacular country. we are really thrilled to be here carried this week, we are here to learn from each other, talk to each other, share best practices, and also help the folks in washington understand cities and to present ourselves as a willing, constructive, and able partner in governing the united states of america. we are really here to engage and to lead.
this week, we are going to and have met with members of congress from both parties. business leaders, community and civil rights leaders. we just finished a great meeting , ourthe business community community civil rights organizations, as well as mayors from across america. we are having a hard conversations about what it takes to solve problems that washington, unfortunately, cannot even begin to touch on details -- detailed and difficult discussions on infrastructure. can help to go forward and not leave everybody behind? ,he same thing with safety security, and equity, to make sure unless we all go for together, we cannot go forward at all. on any of these issues, i would lay odds that if we put five democratic mayors and five republican mayors in a room, they would come up with a path forward that is pragmatic and
bipartisan. fast enough to make your head spin. in a way that grows our economies and treats every community in our cities and towns with the respect they deserve. america's cities are the back home of this great country -- of the backbone of this great country. it is not a fact. it is a political -- it is not a political theory. it is a fact. generations future want to live and raise families. we do this in concert with andy great respect with all of our brothers and sisters who live in ural areas, and we depend on each other for our lives, jobs, and way of life. on this issue and other issues, american mayors have stood up what is smart and right. we don't have the luxury of cherry picking any single particular issue. they all happen on the streets
of american cities all at the same time and are never isolated. one pushes the other one and it circles back and hits you when you don't expect. here is what we have learned -- americans right now see chaos, confusion, coming from washington d.c., and it causes anxiety. on the streets of america, working families want their leaders to focus on solutions that will lead to better opportunities for their families to succeed. , mayors are left with no choice but to govern. in realitygovern based on fact, even in spite of what is happening in washington d.c. later, we will talk about the women's issues that are pertinent today. -- the are not just having a have a united group
bipartisan mayors and we are modeling exactly how public service can impact communities, and we are working with each other to affect working people's lives, trying to show constructive leadership and engagement, and hope to find partners in washington willing to get the job done. our priorities because we cannot do everything, but the ones we want to focus on is ensuring the safety and security of all of our communities. this is our highest and first priority. fixing our crumbling infrastructure in a meaningful way to build resilience and give people hope and freedom. expand our workforce to drive economic growth so that everybody participates in a growing economy. and finally, to create equitable communities to increase opportunities for all. for example, on the infrastructure bill, which is at the top of our agenda, we don't have to talk about what it is. in cities big and small, there is a $5 trillion infrastructure deficit in the united states of america that makes us uncompetitive with some of our
competing, international partners as well as on the streets of america. we have to talk about making sure that money gives to the people who know how to spend it well, on time, on task, and under budget. those individuals are standing behind me and do that all day and are ready investing more money than congress has invested over time. at the end of the day, it is impossible -- it is important that we work together. i am thrilled and proud to be standing with what i consider to be the best leaders in america, and hope that over the next couple of days, we can engage in these difficult discussions of all of the issues that affect our citizens. i thank you. i now want to call mayor stephen benjamin and our first vice president to be followed by mayor brian barnett. thank you so much. mayor benjamin. [no audio] [applause]
benjamin: i want to thank you and thank our entire leadership team and are executive director for convening this week. mayors, it is hot in here and it is packed and it won't get less packed or less hot. america the day so far, needs to see what we have assembled here. come up front so the cameras can catch each and every one of you. it is always a pleasure to be in the company of all of our colleagues, the men and women who are getting things done across party lines, consistently showing up to do the work of the american people. i want to welcome all of our newly-elected colleagues. you will see dozens of men and women, both parties, from all across this country come excited about getting to work.
no doubt we are living in turbulent times. by while sit idly washington decides what he wants to do. and who it wants to do it for. so whether we are talking about the nearly 800,000 dreamers who deserve a more certain future and opportunity to live and work in our cities, whether we are talking about our efforts to , $5ess infrastructure trillion worth of infrastructure that is needed all across this mostry to remain the powerful nation in the history of the world. if we are talking about gun safety, climate change, mayors work every single day to try to get the job done. when divisive rhetoric in partisan politics become the starting point of every conversation, we all pay the price. it is mayors that are left standing there.
having to explain how it abundantly wealthy country can behave at times of being morally bankrupt. as mayors, we can wrap our arms around sensible legislation. it does not hurt hard-working, americans. it does not shift the burden of of local government and does not cause irreversible damage to our communities, schools, public safety, and so much more. so in the next two days, i encourage you -- you will see problem-solving inaction. you will see men and women from from asss this country -- from as far away as a white and alaska, addressing real issues. with renewed commitment to and readingcities
this great country. i will yield my microphone to brian bartlett. [applause] good afternoon. i want to thank the leadership usmayor benjamin for getting all together, selling thank united states conference of mayors and its ceo for all of the logistical support. this is not as easy as it might look. you know what is not easy is navigating washington. it is certainly not easy for the american people, and at times, not easy for elected mayors. but the one thing mayors are exceptional at is using laserlike focus on keeping the priorities of the american people we represent. that means focusing on issues like in a nation, and
immigration, an infrastructure. and there are no better people as often washington looks for solutions on issues, are the people i am gathered your shoulder to shoulder. mayors don't have the luxury of rhetoric that is often so common here in this particular city. we deal in the world of results. we have to deliver. on over we will focus the next several days in a tremendous a bipartisan fashion is making sure those focus items that draw us all here together, whether we come from large or urban communities, or urban centers themselves, stay at the top of that agenda. the will part through the noise and make sure we continue to deliver for the people. my privilege to continue to work with these mayors, as you will see good things happen, as
washington looks for solutions, i will take the solutions are standing beside me, and we look for to great conversation over the next couple days. thank you. [applause] washington looks for solutions and sometimes a look away from solutions. i want to thank everybody for being here. none of us could afford a government shutdown. here about building a future. one of the conversations we just had was what we call inclusive economic growth. chicago, we going from a kindergarten to high school model to a pre-k to college model. you're going to have to start earlier in life and go longer to succeed. we cannot have an economy or future notne everybody has a educational tools to succeed in that economy. notou are not and you do
have a passport to that economy, which is an education, it is not an economy that embraces inclusion. we are on our way in the city of chicago where if you get a b average in high school, community college is free. if you keep a b average, then you can be offered 40% to 50% off tuition, so parents don't have to have a second job or second mortgage. way towell on our universal pre-katy perry to me, that is a key component, which we will be talking about, how to -- regardless of what neighborhood you are from, you know three or education that that is your passport to a future. that is inclusive economic growth. inclusiveness,of the city of chicago was always, and i say this as a son and
grandson of immigrants, the city of chicago has always been a welcoming city, whether you travel the atlantic, pacific, with the mississippi, you saw the promise that your children could have a better life. and through struggle and sacrifice, you gave that to them. the chicago star scholarship is open to dreamers. it is the only public scholarship a dreamer can get in the united states of america. that is why i am here. [laughter] >> the idea that you would actually come and a city of chicago, which is the only city that in the civil war that did not participate in the slave act. it was the first welcoming city in the united states. in the city of chicago will not turn its back on people who believe for their children, america is still a place of promise. in the idea that the president of the united states would
reprimand any of us by carrying out the laws of our city is wrong. fundamentally wrong. [laughter] [applause] >> and is a former chief of staff, those meetings with the doing whatre about my colleague just said. how to find solutions to problems. not to put 23 people on notice that they could be arrested for believing in america. it is my great honor to introduce a very good friend from los angeles. [applause] much for youro powerful words. and thank you to our leadership. especially, who has been a great leader. thank you, mitch for all that you have done. i am so excited. anytime i see this many mayors, i get very excited because mayors are engaged in partisan
warfare. we are those who want to get into the trenches. we reflect the values of the country and that the trust of americans. think about that. 90% of the population live in towns and cities in america. we have the trust because people know local leaders cannot fix everything overnight. won't make magic in a single day. interested as residents of those very same communities in building more promise and more potential across this nation. if this was a conference coming to washington 30 years ago, we might have been coming here to ask washington to save america's cities. cities were even burning. schools are being vacated. the opposite is happening. people are coming back to cities in america. my message to washington is very clear. washington, we are here to save you. [laughter] >> we are here to make sure the values and progress of this nation are matched and are met.
unfortunatelyave politics defining itself by what they can take away from american people and how they can divide us. they want to divide us appear, but we won't be divided. we judge our success by what we had, and how we multiply our successes. we share those stories. i want to share the stories in los angeles. i am proud to bring the summer games back to los angeles. i am excited to talk about while washington is finally talking about infrastructure, and we welcome it, we had been passing $250 billion of infrastructure, number larger than what they are going to start with in our cities on our own. it is time for washington to match us. to cap our tax dollars coming back to our communities to make sure we rebuild our bridges, streets, public transportation, water systems and electrical grids. today,ove forward here
we may see some people who send out tweets. but we are fixing the streets. we are going out there, and taking politics seriously. we want to see things get done. and we had to often help each other out. we may have to bail each other out, but -- [laughter] >> thank you. i'm glad to hear that. these threats are nothing short of a distraction. because when you are threatening people with things that are not going to happen, if you don't listen to the police professionals of this nation as we do every day, if you are too pro-family cannot want to see families broken up, if you are pro-economy to stopping entrepreneurs, women who have been shut out, then sure. youract this country by
lack of work, but the mayors are getting back to it. spanish] [applause] thank you for your leadership. you have her come all of the powerful mayors who have spoken to what we are here to do in washington. we come together because we are a nonpartisan organization, and we are here to help each other. we are here to stand together with one another. you have heard about all of the
challenges that we face, and we will take it up because that is what we do as mayors. we solve problems. we make things work for our people. and all of those people who live in our communities, all of us came to this country as , immigrants. each and every one of us, except for the native americans. and so, we are grateful for this country, and for being welcomed by the native americans. today, we will be addressing an issue that is of great importance to our nation. and that is about women. and women's voices. and it is time that the women of the u.s. conference of mayors and our colleagues, who stand with us our male colleagues who , stand with us, and say yes, that women's voices need to be heard. i am proud to be part of that
movement. i am proud to be part of supporting the voices of women. and to see women excel at leadership in elected office, in -suites of america in the , boardrooms of america, in nonprofit organizations. we have something to offer. we, women, bring something different to the table. and together, we can make great things happen. both the patriarchs and the matriarchs of this nation. and we stand together because we ,re mayors, proud to be mayors and we know how to get things done. we balance our budgets. or are people will get to us. [laughter] here make sure that i came after a huge snowstorm in minnesota. i'm in minnesota mayor, and we
know how to clean streets because if we don't get the snow removal vehicles out on the streets, we will hear from our constituents. washington does not know that. we are 24/7. when something happens in our community, they do not call washington. call the legislators in our state. they call the mayors. so we get things done. and i am so proud to be standing here with my colleagues to work together for the good of the people that we serve. and for the good of this nation and its economic vitality. and for each and every person who lives in this great country of ours, god bless america, god bless america's mayors. [applause]
>> mayors, thank you for all of your comments. there is an elephant in the room, and i'm going to address it now. one thing that the people of america should understand really clearly about the people standing around me is number one, we represent the totality and the beauty and the diversity of the united states of america. democrat,ublican and rich and poor, and represent every corner of this great nation. the second thing is this -- mayors run through the fire. we never run away from the fire because people's lives depend on it. and so, unfortunately, while we were preparing to come to this press conference, the white what decided to engage in is going to be a total distraction for a minute, but you will watch the mayors of america get back to work, and figure out solutions to problems from infrastructure and to immigration reform. so let me say a couple of things. everybody knows by now that the
department of justice has just letter, raising the issue of sanctuary cities again. they have threatened cities and the united states of america with funds for law enforcement, homeland security, and any other kind of federal funds that they may have. and in some instances, it is that they should put the mayors of america in jail for following the constitution of the united states. i cannot ever recall a time in the history of america when this has happened, number one. number two, i can not ever recall a situation where someone professes to want to work with other people, punches them in the face first, and says, now i would like to talk to you. we are at the united states conference of mayors. almost every year, we are invited to the white house to talk. this year, that did not happen.
we were supposed to go to the white house this afternoon at 3:00. some mayors will attend and some will not. and let me say this at the outset that we all do not agree in this room on the pathway forward on immigration. however,th noting, that if the president of the united states and congress would do their job, we would not be having this discussion at all. comprehensive immigration reform would make this country better. [applause] thank you. but we find ourselves standing at this moment in a really awkward place. and it is worth noting just for a second about how we got here and why we got here? you see if we had an issue like , this amongst us, we would meet in a room and hash it out respectively. and then come out with a pathway forward. he was certainly not invite somebody to our house for lunch, and then exporting -- and then front on them in
porch. my mom taught me better than that. now, as we stand here, we have 23 of our mayors that are now under threat of prosecution because of something that the president has called sanctuary cities. for those of you in this room that have followed this issue, you know there is no definition and federal law for the term sanctuary city. it does not exist. so in a country that prides itself on due process and no it is important to violate a process that does not exist. secondly it is the priority of , every mayor to make sure that their citizens are safe. public safety is our number one priority. there is not a mayor in america that would not put a person a committed a violent crime in jail threatens anybody -- in jail who threatens anybody. like tod thing i would note for you is that under this administration and with what
, congress has recently done, they have recently cut funds to homeland security taking a harder for us to protect our cities. if this administration wants to talk to the mayors of america and the police chief of america about how to make america safe, we are interested in having that discussion every day, all day, but what we are not willing to do is to stand idly by when you threaten the mayors of america for following the constitution of the united states. citiesck on one of our is an attack on all of us. and it is very important for the president and congress to understand that. i have personally met with the attorney general at least, three times on this issue and the department of justice and department of homeland security has not come forward with a constructive way to solve this particular problem. and i am sorry, mr. president that you and congress cannot , figure out how to handle the daca issue last week. but the last thing you should do is to put that on the head's of the mayors of america. it is our job to save lives and
we think we do it really well. with that, i will call on anyone who may have a question. ?es question mark >> >> what does it tell you that after meeting with the justice department that they have gone this route? will you comply with the subpoenas? >> i am going to let a number of mayors on that list speak to. in new orleans, i had an opportunity to force the attorney general to say publicly that they were wrong about the city of new orleans. and i want to be clear with the people of the united states of america. what the department of justice has asked city to do is to violate the constitution. mayors of america want to comply with the constitution, but this is a problem for congress, not the mayors of america. andy mayor of america police chief, the number one priority is to make the streets of america safe, and that is what we have been doing. so we will take up this issue in a forthright way.
but i want to set this up clearly for the people of america as a watch what just happened. what could have happened was, would you guys please come to the white house so because have a constructive discussion about immigration reform, and daca, and by the way, we want to talk about sanctuary cities and have a provocative and tough conversation that may or may not include salty language about any particular issue? that is the way we do things. one thing that we never do is invite people into a comfortable space, and then somehow come out in the front, through a bomb so the conversation starts off in a negative way rather than a positive way. that is not the way to get to a couple answer for the american public. we are not just talking about how you model behavior and leadership encouraged to get to yes. we are talking about putting the issue itself aside.
secondly, on the issue itself, we are going to have mayors of america have now have a bullseye on their back, come up and speak specifically about what their thoughts are. i have a sneaking suspicion that mayor emanuel will be the first up. [laughter] >> will new orleans comply? >> we are not on the list. mayor emanuel: as the first city on that list, first of all, you should know that we filed a suit against the justice department. one in the lower circuit court. last friday, we were in front of the appellate judge. the ruling is related to chicago being a welcoming city. it is actually of national importance. it is not just reflective of chicago. second, the value system as it
promiseto i think the of america. the opportunity that the sacrifice and struggle, your kids can have a better future. of chicagohe future has multiple line was spoken in the chicago school system. i will never allow those kids and their families to note that the city is not behind them and their future and their sacrifices. the city is clear on its law and what is even more damaging, we all operate with community policing. where you build a relationship between the law enforcement community, the residents, and in working together to reduce public safety threats, and working together to build trust. you cannot do that if you drive a wedge between any immigrant community and law enforcement. it is contrary to public safety, contrary to the values of our nation, and contrary to the ideals and the law that we established. and the idea that you are also
going to take leaders, mayors, and put them in legal and criminal jeopardy because there is a disagreement, where in fact in ourrts already ruled case and the california case in san francisco, contrary to the justice department, it is an amazing take for the attorney general to disregard what the court system has already said, uniformly, from coast-to-coast, i count the third coast in the midwest -- idea that you are [laughter] >> each one of the mayors appear, there's more about the public safety of our people than anyone living outside of our cities. there is not a single layer in this country that says, if your criminal, come over. and if you are undocumented, bonus points. this is a miss. and it is pure politics. let us be clear about what this is. it is the politics of
distraction and destruction. this president is very obsessed with a gang called ms-13. we know a thing or two about it in los angeles where it was born. we cut gang crime by half in los angeles. we have built the trust that mayor emanuel mentioned every , single one of these mayors have to do every day with her -- with our immigrant community. believe we don't work well together on the ground, taking down some of those leaders even further in our city. ironically, this administration cut the grant, and is threatening to cut further grants that we use to hire the crops they go after ms-13. how perverse is that? taking the money away from our police to do that does not make sense. second point, as police officers, the worst call to get is for a police officer to be shot. i got the call this december.
it was an immigrant to our country. a korean woman who dreamed of becoming -- who dreamed of coming to america and dreamed of becoming a los angeles police officer, joy parker. she was at a traffic stop when someone leaned out of their window and shot nine bullets towards them. one of them hit her. luckily, it hit her in the leg. because she is strong and because our entire community rallied around her, she got out of the hospital today. a cop get that would be killer in minutes because there was trust with a highly immigrant community in the area just west of downtown los angeles. might -- many of them probably undocumented. way, hed, he went that is in that store, and we got them. -- and we got him. listen to police officers, they know what works. you can threaten subpoenas, you can threaten arrest, and we will keep abiding by the constitution and keeping our people safe. thank you. [applause]
>> just before we get off this topic again, i want to stress that not every mayor in this conference is on the same page as it relates to immigration. everybody may have a difference of opinion, but my guess is we are not far off in the way we are treating this issue. i do want to give a chance to any other mayor who wants to speak on this specific issue right now because i know we have other questions. anybody else? yes. fisher, the mayor of louisville. and we are on this list. i want to emphasize people trusting each other in the hopes of a better tomorrow. and without this trust, it is an essential part of our societies. we have to fight every day. we also expect a certain level
of competence from elected officials. is insistingoday that people send proof that they are in compliance with federal law. and i would bet that many of us up year have already done that. mailbox of the doj should be checked so that they can see the mayors of america are going about doing their job, responding when required, and getting back to business and growing our cities for all of our citizens. thank you. >> steve adler from austin texas. >> we are not on the list and it is because we are involved in court action with our state on a recently adopted statue in texas. mr. president, there is one point in portage for the media to understand -- this immigration debate, as you
recall, began with a political and rhetorical effort to make us afraid of one another. it was about dividing us. it was about making us fear one another based on lies and things not true. this began with the presumption or the belief or the suggestion immigrant communities are dangerous and we have to fear the immigrant members of our populations, of our communities. in incidence of crime immigrants are lower than the general population. in incidents of crimes undocumented immigrant populations are lower than the general population. if you were serious about trying to lower the general incidence of crime in the country, one way would be to invite in were
immigrants because it would average down the number. that is the rhetorical and political device to make us afraid of one another. it is dangerous. thank you. >> i am on the list. >> i am the mayor of portland, oregon. i have to say, this is one of the most disappointing actions from a white house in my lifetime. the reason is just disappointing its demonstrates a lack of a moral compass in the leadership of the united states of america. thes not only insulting attorney general would send a notice to us today, knowing we are coming here and knowing
there is a delegation going to the white house to have a conversation with the president and the president's senior staffers. it is more than insulting, it is dangerous for a white house -- for any white house to threaten newly elected leaders who are following the law and the united states constitution. the people of this country should hold jeff sessions and the white house accountable for this action. this is not know what the people of the united states of america agreed to. this is not the value of america. this is not who we are, fundamentally as a people. we will not stand for it. [applause] albany, newmayor of
york. toant to echo this attempt make us fear our immigrant communities is not only wrong, but in the city of albany, immigrants are far more likely to be victims of crimes then to be river traders. -- be perpetrators. them to not encourage make their voices heard and to not be in fear, our communities will be more dangerous places. the work we are doing with our police chiefs, understanding our community, is incredibly important in keeping the community safe. i would call upon the white house and the department of justice to sit down and talk to us. we work with our friends in the federal government.
we want to ensure our cities are safe. they may bew things able to learn by sitting down and speaking with us. thank you mayor landrieu: hold on. as i told you, he will not let president trump or the attorney general keep us off balance or off focus on all of the other issues we are going to work on in the next couple of days. i will say two things and we will turn to questions about other issues. if you want to speak to mayors, they will be around and available of a comment. mr. president, i want you to hear this clearly, we will not be divided. we will not be intimidated. if you and congress do their job , you should be able to fix this problem. we speak plainly and authentically, too. on infrastructure, go big or go home. [laughter]
landrieu: that is opposition on infrastructure. if you want to hear opposition, let us get back to work. i am sure courthouses are going to be full with injunctions. do not try on the constitution by threatening officials -- threatening elected officials. thank you. if you have questions, we will take them now. otherwise, hit your mayors individually. >> infrastructure -- what is one thing you would like to see included in that bill? landrieu: ior would like it to work. we have a deficit in america. the president correctly said that americaunning is getting being around the world and at home by not having an if researcher that works.
ports,tems, bridges, airports these a lot of help. the president's requisition is to throw less than 5% of recommended. we think it is difficult to -- we think it is a difficult place to start. you are looking at people's job to solve the problem. we want to engage in this issue in a constructive way. a minute ago -- it is why what happened a minute ago is so devastating. it is hard when you are dealing in eight nonconstructive way. the mayor has a comment. >> i one thing to say. trillionion for a dollar goal is not real.
i think the two issues are related. the president of the united states, is administration purposely issued the subpoena today. they do not want to have a conversation about every structure. the emperor wears no clothes when it comes to his plans. that is what is going on. there is no infrastructure plan and no resources. you are going to find out is plan -- the emperor wears n o clothes. whether it is roadways or rails, we have to make it happen. their plan does not have funds for the future of america. >> will you be attending the meeting at the white house in the afternoon? what you hope comes out? mayor landrieu: i will not. >> will you get closer to the meeting? mayor landrieu: he asked me if i will attend.
i will not. i was planning on attending. we were in medication on having a constructive meeting. individual members were invited. typically, the protocol has andys been the conference all of the mayors would get invited. invitete house chose to mayors. a lot of us intended to go, notwithstanding the fact we got a conflict. -- inot -- in conscious good conscience -- go into meeting -- into a meeting with good pretenses when the white house new what we were doing and how we were doing it. it would not send the right message. an attack on one of our cities
is an attack on all of us. i will not be attending the meeting. [applause] isor landrieu: i think it acceptable for individual mayors who may want to go for their own particular reasons that may have a different in opinion to go to the white house. as a matter of protocol, if you get invited, you should go. the circumstances change for some of us. thank you. >> thank you, everybody. >> who is not going? >> not going. >> not going. >> not going. [applause] president trump: well, thank you very much. what a group. some great friends, great mayors. please sit down.